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Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is Texas Utility Help?

Texas Utility Help is a program that provides financial assistance to qualified low income Texas households who need help to pay their utility bills. Eligible expenses include electricity, gas, propane, water, and wastewater.

FAQ ID: 7746
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What is LIHEAP?

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists eligible low-income households with their heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weatherization and energy-related home repairs.

FAQ ID: 4561
Published Date: June 13, 2022
What is LIHWAP?

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a water assistance program designed to assist low-income households in meeting their immediate water and wastewater needs.

FAQ ID: 4438
Published Date: June 13, 2022
Is assistance from the Texas Utility Help program provided to households as a grant or a loan?

Texas Utility Help funds are issued in the form of grants that households do not need to repay. The payments are made directly to the utility company.

FAQ ID: 9632
Published Date: June 6, 2022
Can Texas Utility Help provide assistance if I have already moved out of the property?

No. In order to be eligible for assistance, the household must currently occupy the property as their primary residence.

FAQ ID: 9987
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What does qualified alien mean?

Qualified Alien commonly refers to individuals with permanent resident status in the US, and it includes other groups as well. See full the definition of qualified alien here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1641.

FAQ ID: 9474
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What other programs are available?

Please visit the TDHCA Help for Texans page to explore additional programs: https://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/texans.htm.

FAQ ID: 4556
Published Date: June 6, 2022

Program

How much assistance can I apply for?

Energy Program – Electricity, Gas, and Propane

  • Assistance may be paid (i) up to the total past due amounts owed for electricity, gas and propane, plus (ii) up to $2,400 for prospective payments (one-time lump sum), depending on household income.

Water Program – Water and Wastewater

  • Provides assistance to eligible Texas households with qualified incomes to pay past due or current water and wastewater bills. Prospective water assistance payments are not currently available.
  • Assistance may be paid up to the total amount due for payment in order to reconnect water service, avoid disconnection of water service, or for a current bill. See program rules for details.

See full program overviews for more details.

FAQ ID: 2369
Published Date: June 6, 2022
Does my utility provider have to participate?

Yes. The program requires that the utility company sign a vendor agreement before payments can be issued to the utility company. The program invites utility companies to participate in the program.

FAQ ID: 1114
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What types of properties are eligible for assistance?

Homeowners and renters are both eligible to apply. Eligible property types include:

  • Single-family homes
  • Multi-family buildings
  • Mobile homes
FAQ ID: 9836
Published Date: June 6, 2022

Eligibility

What is the maximum household income to be eligible for Texas Utility Help?

Texas households may be eligible for assistance from Texas Utility Help if their household income is at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (“FPIG”). The maximum household income depends on how many persons are living in the household and is based on GROSS income (before taxes, deductions, etc.), not take-home pay.

All members of the household must be included in the income total regardless of citizenship status, however those who are not citizens or qualified aliens are not included in the Household size for income determination.

Persons in Family/Household Size 150% FPIG
1 $20,385
2 $27,465
3 $34,545
4 $41,625
5 $48,705
6 $55,785
7 $62,865
8 $69,945
Families with more than 8 persons Add $7,080 for each additional person

 

SOURCE: https://aspe.hhs.gov/topics/poverty-economic-mobility/poverty-guidelines

FAQ ID: 2197
Published Date: June 6, 2022
Do I need to have a past due electricity, gas, or propane bill in order to receive help for these bills?

No. Qualifying households can receive assistance for future energy bills. This assistance is a one-time lump sum advance payment to the utility for 100% of annual usage up to the household maximum of $2,400, whether or not they have a past due balance. This applies to eligible electricity, gas, or propane expenses.

FAQ ID: 3334
Published Date: June 6, 2022
Do I need to have a past due water or wastewater in order to receive help for these bills?

No. Currently, water and wastewater assistance is available to households whose water service needs to be reconnected, those who have received a threat of water service disconnect, past due notice, or for a current bill.

FAQ ID: 4763
Published Date: June 6, 2022
Is there a citizenship requirement for the program?

At least one occupant in the household needs to be a citizen or qualified alien in order to apply. Citizens and qualified aliens will be required to provide documentation establishing their status, such as a Passport or Permanent Resident Card. The immigration status of qualified aliens will be confirmed using the SAVE database.

FAQ ID: 6644
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What if my household includes some members who are citizens or qualified aliens and other members who are unqualified aliens?

Households with at least one occupant with U.S. citizen or qualified alien status are eligible. Applicants need to include information about all of the occupants living in the household, regardless of citizenship status. All members of the household must be included in the income total, however those who are not citizens or qualified aliens are not included in the Household size for income determination.

FAQ ID: 8712
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What is “categorical eligibility”?

Households who provide proof of participation in the below programs are considered categorically eligible, meaning they do not need to submit income documentation:

  • Supplemental Security Income payments from the Social Security Administration (SSI)
  • Means-Tested Veterans Program recipient (Veterans Pension or Survivors Benefit, not Service-Connected Disability)
FAQ ID: 7878
Published Date: June 6, 2022

Application

Where can I apply?

If you think you qualify, apply now here.

FAQ ID: 5741
Published Date: June 6, 2022
What specific documents does the household need to provide with the application?

Below are examples of documents that households are required to submit with the application:

  • Identification card
  • Proof of citizenship or legal residency
  • Utility bill (electricity, gas, propane, water, and/or wastewater bill)
  • Income documentation such as award letters or paystubs for each member of your household
  • Documentation showing the utility is disconnected, under threat of disconnect, past due or is a current bill
FAQ ID: 6669
Published Date: June 6, 2022

Payments

How are payments made?

Once a household’s application is approved, payment is sent directly to the utility company.

FAQ ID: 1986
Published Date: June 6, 2022
If I am approved, how quickly can I receive assistance?

All applications will be  carefully reviewed to ensure they meet  program eligibility requirements.  If documents or information is missing from your application, you will be contacted and asked to provide it.  Once your application review is completed, you will be notified whether you qualify for program assistance.  Application review times can vary.  Applicants can log into the portal at any time to check the status of their applications.

FAQ ID: 2227
Published Date: June 6, 2022

System

I don’t have internet or computer access. How do I apply?

Households can appoint a representative to submit the online application on their behalf.

FAQ ID: 2541
Published Date: June 6, 2022

Utility Vendors

What is Texas Utility Help?

Texas Utility Help is a new statewide program administered by TDHCA with funding from LIHEAP and LIHWAP. The new program offers a streamlined online application process, so any eligible Texas household can apply for both energy and water bill assistance in a single form.

FAQ ID: U-539
Published Date: September 23, 2022
Are utility vendors required to participate in the program in order to receive payment on behalf of eligible households?

Yes.

FAQ ID: U-735
Published Date: September 23, 2022
How do utility vendors sign up?

To sign up, utility vendors should call 1-855-566-2057.

FAQ ID: U-333
Published Date: September 23, 2022
How do households apply for assistance?

The online application for households is available here.

FAQ ID: U-659
Published Date: September 23, 2022
What are the basic requirements for a Texas household to qualify for assistance?

Household income must be at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG). At least one member of the household must be a citizen or qualified alien.

FAQ ID: U-117
Published Date: September 23, 2022
How will I know which account to apply payment to?

The customer’s Account Number will be provided in the remittance information for each individual payment. Additionally, vendors will receive email notification about payments and summary reporting will be available on the portal.

FAQ ID: U-483
Published Date: September 23, 2022